Egypt Divided

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Pro and Anti-Mubarak demonstrators attack each other with stones and make-shift missiles. Midan el Tahrir.

On the eve of the 11th day of demonstrations in Egypt, our great country lies divided in two camps.

One side backs those who remain camped in Midan el Tahrir, adamant that change and democracy must come immediately. They remain distrustful of Mubarak and his government, and do not want to remain under his rule for another eight months. Many of them are afraid that Mubarak might renege on his promise to cede his position in September, and many are skeptical about whether Egypt will have another chance like this to live in a democracy. Despite Mubarak’s speeches they are unhappy about the treatment of the peaceful supporters at the hands of pro-Mubarak thugs, and rightfully so. They also believe that if the battle ends now then the hundred or so who have died, and the thousands who have been injured will have done so in vain.

The other side has chosen to accept Mubarak’s offer of reform during these eight months and the promise of fresh elections in September. They are wary that 10 days of fighting and protesting have come and gone and still there is no change in power. They do not want to pay for freedom in blood, and do not want any more of their countrymen to die or get injured in the ensuing violence of demonstrations. Ultimately, they have chosen the stability that Mubarak provides, despite the brutality that comes with that stability.

Tomorrow one of the largest demonstrations yet has been planned. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen. Will those in Cairo turn out in force like they did for the Million Man March? Or will they shy away from extended conflict and return to their everyday lives?

Every dead Egyptian is one less servant to his country. His death or injury will not benefit the cause of Revolution. Is it time to retreat and lick our wounds, in order to be able to fight another day? Or are we so close that to stop now would be madness? The answers are so unclear and the unity that we saw between the Egyptian people only a week ago has fragmented and resulted in divisions that have only weakened our collective fight for our rights.

As many urge their fellow compatriots to continue the fight, so many others urge the exact opposite. Examples are the differing Facebook groups; ‘Walk Away From Ta7rir Square’ already has more than 37,000 attendees, while other groups continue to defy Mubarak. ‘A Virtual “March of Millions” in Solidarity with Egyptian Protestors’ has posted this video, which is meant to inspire the crowds to continue fighting on:

I quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt now because he said it better than I will ever be able to: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Could it be any more clear? The reason the 6 days following the 25th of January were so successful is because the fear barrier was down. We Egyptians stopped fearing the government.

We believed in a bigger, better cause; one worth defying the government for. As we crossed the threshold from submissive citizens to passionate and yet peaceful protesters, we liberated ourselves from the fear and uncertainty that has held us back for years. The camaraderie that we enjoyed with our countrymen was unprecedented. But then the speeches came, and the the offers came, and then the apology, and all the while they tried to seduce us with offers of safety and security, despite Midan el Tahrir being turned into a warzone, and widespread acceptance of the fact that hired thugs were acting as pro-Mubarak protesters. We became afraid again.

As the death toll went up and videos of attacks and brutality circled the internet, we hesitated, and naturally afraid for our own well-being and for that of our families and countrymen, the fear came crawling back. And now we are afraid again.

So many want an end to fear, suffering, and violence, and none more than me. It aches my heart to see the attacks on civilians in Midan el Tahrir and all over Egypt, but we are too far in to go back now. What about those who died for freedom? Will their deaths have been in vain?

Abraham Lincoln once said: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of me.” If Egyptians are anything at all they are brave. The Eagle of Salah el Din on our flag is representative of that. In 1919 we  pushed out the British. In 1952 we pushed out the monarchy. The time has come to push out autocracy.


Written by BraveNewEgypt

February 4, 2011 at 3:07 am

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